Publisher: Langmead &
Baker Ltd. Managing Editor: Margaret Thompson.
• The Natural Resources Consultative Forum (NRCF) has resolved that no elephant sport hunting (ESH) should be conducted in Zambia in 2006. The minutes of the meeting on January 10 at which the decision was taken were widely circulated. An advisory note, and the minutes of the NRCF ESH meeting, were sent by the NRCF to the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (MTENR), followed by a meeting between the NRCF chairman and the minister. Meanwhile, an auction took place in April at the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) offices of ten of the 20 elephant for sport hunting (the other ten being taken up by the concessionaires where they had been made available).
A case is currently before the High Court regarding the sale of part of the West Mvuvye National Forest No. 54 by Chieftainess Mwape to a businessman. A 99-year renewable lease was issued by the Commissioner of Lands.
The Zambian government, through the Ministry of Lands, is reviewing the draft land policy. The World Bank is assisting it in finalising the review process. Recently the World Bank consulted a number of stakeholders on land policy-related issues and drafted an action plan for finalising the land policy. The draft action plan, which was presented to some 12 or so participants on April 12 and was to be handed in to the ministry the following day, had concluded that in future all land in Zambia fell under the control of the ministry, with chiefs acting as land administrators.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (UK) held an International Ivory Enforcement Training Workshop in Lusaka from April 19 to 21, funded by Department for International Development (DFID). A presentation on the Singapore ivory seizure (2002) was made in which the details of the shipment of 6.5 tons of ivory suspected to come mostly from the Luangwa valley in Zambia, sent from Lilongwe, via Durban, to Singapore, was made. DNA investigations of the ivory and soil isotope analysis have so far revealed that the elephant come from two savanah populations. These now need to be matched with samples from Luangwa and elsewhere. While presenting his part in the investigation, Samuel Ngosi of the Malawian Anti-Corruption Bureau revealed, possibly for the first time, that his investigations had uncovered the fact that a total of 19 shipments had been made by the same people, using the same methods and carriers, between 1994 and 2002 a total of 123.5 tons of ivory being shipped, much of it small worked pieces. No arrests or prosecutions had yet been made. Some of this ivory might be hippo ivory.
Some professional hunters co-ordinated by the chairman of the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia, Simon Burgess, were assisting the ZAWA director of conservation, Dr Lewis Saiwana, in the training of crop and human protection guards, with guidelines provided by Barry Shenton, former senior warden and veteran of the elephant control group in the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, a group established in the 1930s. In addition, the legendary control guard and hunter Rice Time will be called on to offer advice.
Guides in the running for top accolade
South Luangwa tour guide Manda Chisanga is one of eleven guides worldwide who have been shortlisted for the Paul Morrison Guide Award by website Wanderlust.
This 34-year-old spent his formative years following his construction-worker grandfather as he travelled round Zambia. This fuelled Mandas interest in his own country and, after a brief spell working in a bank and as a veterinary assistant, he became a guide. Manda has spent most of his guiding career in the southern area of Luangwa National Park.
He has been one of South Luangwas most well-respected guides since he started his guiding career in 1997. Taking a safari with him is not only about taking in the sights of the bush, but also about experiencing the smaller detail, such as the vegetation, animal spoor or tiny insects. During his walks Manda also talks enthusiastically about African culture, said Louisa Hill from the UK, who fell in love with Luangwa during a walking safari with Chisanga.
However, it is his passion for Zambia and Zambian people that sets him apart from other guides. He has lived in all nine provinces and his compassionate nature means he is not afraid to address sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS. He is as comfortable discussing world politics as he is sharing amusing anecdotes about his time as a guide, and he would extend the same respect and compassion to a local fisherman as he would to a guest.
Manda is incredibly resourceful. He can create a feast out of berries and vegetation, find fresh drinking water, judge the mood of a towering bull elephant and even practise first aid skills using just the resources around him. Despite his humble roots, and having little access to formal education, his knowledge is second to none. Manda speaks 11 languages and is fluent in ten. His personable nature and thirst for knowledge make him a fascinating dinner companion and the ideal person to share a dream holiday with, she said.
German diplomat Volker Dreike met Chisanga on a walking safari last year. He adds: I read somewhere that the human brain retains only 5 percent of what we are told. Manda managed to increase my powers of retention to 100 percent, such is his gift for keeping you fascinated.
Thanks to Mandas advice I now know how to survive a car crash in the middle of the bush, miles away from the nearest camp, bleeding and with hyenas and lions nearby. (Pour petrol over yourself they dont like the smell and theyll leave you in peace!)
I proudly consider Manda a fellow diplomat because of his great communication skills and the ease with which he is able to give his guests an insight into his world. His knowledge of flora and fauna is unsurpassed a knowledge that he happily passes on to other younger guides. He is also the examiner of candidates for the safari guide licence of South Luangwa National Park.
Gavin Ford, who guides in Zambia, Tanzania and Madagasgar, was also shortlisted for the award.
Licensed as a professional guide in 1982, he was instrumental in establishing the system that has produced some of the finest guides in Africa. Gavin has been actively involved in all aspects of safaris for more than 20 years and has personally lead more than 2,000 trips, said Wanderlust.
The guides were nominated by travellers. A panel, led by author Bill Bryson, will announce the winner later in the year.
Africas largest conservation area
Plans are underway for development of a five-country trans-boundary conservation area straddling Zambia, Naimbia, Angola, Botswana and Zimbabwe, which will be the largest conservation area in Africa.
The Namibian government has approved plans to sign a memorandum of understanding on the Kavango-Zambezi Conservation Area as a precursor to mobilising development assistance for the initiative.
The project has grown from original plans in 2003 to form the Okavango Upper Zambezi Tourism Initiative.
In March Zimbabwe was appointed secretariat for the area.
New ZAWA head appointed
The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has appointed wildlife professional Dr Lewis Saiwana as its new director-general.
Within two days of his appointment on May 22 Dr Saiwana chaired a preliminary meeting of representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, Norwegian donor agency NORAD, and the Natural Resources Consultative Forum to discuss the forthcoming consultancy by Changa Management Services, which is tasked with carrying out a mid-term review and revision of the ZAWA five-year strategic plan for the period 2003-2007.
Funding for wild dogs assessment
African Wild Dog Conservation in Zambia has been awarded a US$20,000 grant by the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.
The funds will go towards an assessment of the status of the remaining 5,000 African wild dogs, and to develop effective conservation and management plans for their survival.
The money was part of this years US$770,000 round of donations by the US-based fund, whose mission is to work with purpose and passion on behalf of wildlife and habitats worldwide, encouraging sustainable solutions through support of species research, animal rescue and rehabilitation and conservation education.
African Wild Dogs Conservation works in Eastern Zambia implementing management strategies developed from its previous research projects. Its research continues and it also aims to improve links between Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa National Parks.
It has three main goals conservation, applied research, and capacity building and education.
Birds top list of Zambias threatened species
Two species of Zambian bird the Madagascar pond heron Ardeola idea and the white-winged flufftail Sarothrura ayresi have been listed as endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The organisations comprehensive annual Red List of threatened species lists 16,119 known threatened species this year, with 784 declared extinct and a further 65 only found in captivity or cultivation, out of the 40,177 species assessed.
This species is listed as endangered because it has a very small population that is undergoing a continuing decline because many of its breeding colonies are heavily and increasingly exploited for eggs and young. This exploitation is exacerbated by pressures on its wetland habitats, said the IUCN of the Madagascar pond heron.
On the white-winged flufftail it said: This species is listed as endangered because it has a very small range, with breeding proven at only two locations, which is believed to be undergoing a continuing decline in extent, area, and habitat quality, owing to the high rate of loss and degradation of its preferred habitat, seasonal marshland.
Species on the vulnerable list in Zambia include the black-cheeked lovebird Agapornis nigrigenis, shoebill Balaeniceps rex, papyrus yellow warbler Chloropeta gracilirostris, wattled crane Grus carunculatus and Cape griffon Gyps coprotheres.
The 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species brings into sharp focus the ongoing decline of the earths biodiversity and the impact mankind is having upon life on earth. Widely recognised as the most authoritative assessment of the global status of plants and animals, it provides an accurate measure of progress, or lack of it, in achieving the globally agreed target to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, it said.
The 2006 IUCN Red List shows a clear trend: biodiversity loss is increasing, not slowing down, said IUCN director general Achim Steiner. The implications of this trend for the productivity and resilience of ecosystems and the lives and livelihoods of billions of people who depend on them are far-reaching. Reversing this trend is possible, as numerous conservation success stories have proven. To succeed on a global scale, we need new alliances across all sectors of society. Biodiversity cannot be saved by environmentalists alone it must become the responsibility of everyone with the power and resources to act, he added.
The report also highlighted the decline of the common hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibious, which has been listed as threatened for the first time and is classified as vulnerable, primarily because of its decline in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1994 the DRC had the second largest population in Africa 30,000 after Zambia s 40,000 - but numbers have plummeted by 95 per cent. The decline is due to unregulated hunting for meat and the ivory of their teeth, said the IUCN.
Water resources project underway
Plans are underway to devise an Integrated Water Resources Management Strategy, implemented by the Lusaka-based Zambezi River Authority.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) project Zambezi Action Plan Project (ZACPRO 6, Phase II) aims to improve water availability and protection against floods, droughts, water resources pollution and environmental degradation in the Zambezi River Basin.
The immediate aim is to facilitate the efforts of riparian states to create and develop an enabling institutional environment through a demand-driven process with strong stakeholder participation.
The project is jointly financed by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and the Royal Norwegian embassy in Lusaka.
The Zambezi River Authority is the implementing agency and was inviting proposals from consultants to formulate the strategy and devise medium- and long-term measures to address key issues.
Environmental policy debate
The formation of the National Resources Consultative Forum (NRCF) and the drafting of the National Policy on Environment last year has spurred debate on the interaction between the two.
The forum, funded by DANIDA for a one-year pilot phase, and a second three-year phase up to 2008, was envisaged as a neutral platform for stakeholder participation in the management of natural resources, particularly policy formulation.
The National Policy on Environment (NPE), meanwhile, has already provided the broader national policy goals on environment and natural resources, and has confirmed the need for a formal institutional mechanism to structure natural resource and environmental issues, and to provide sustainability.
With the two structures in place, the consultative forum is in a position to lobby for acceptance of the national policy, to convert it into a strategic action plan, build the necessary institution, and drive the inter-sectoral implementation of the plan.
In his foreword to the draft national policy, the Minister for Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Hon. Patrick Kalifungwa set out the main purpose of the NPE; to create an umbrella policy for the welfare of the nations environment so that socio-economic development will be achieved effectively without damaging the integrity of the environment or its resources.
The expected results were an increase in economic development and an assurance of conservation of the environment with sustainable use of natural resources.
This will help attain and ultimately secure the goal of development without destruction, he said.
But he cautioned: The challenges are to create a policy that will facilitate development whilst at the same time conserving natural resources and without hindering social and economic objectives as defined in national sectoral policies and in the Millennium Development Goals. To attain this target it will be necessary to harmonise disparate sector policies and to introduce suitable institutional, legal and funding measures required for implementation, building wherever possible on the existing foundation. This will require mobilising public support and creation of a positive attitude of mind towards current environmental problems and their solution. This can only be done by provision of adequate funding and dedicated human resources to carry the policy through both at the central and local levels. Full use should be made of a holistic approach that will rationalise sector policies and decentralisation.
The minister also said: Throughout the world it is increasingly recognised that development in all its forms should incorporate means for safeguarding the environment and for ensuring sustainable use of resources. In Zambia, development programmes are using water, soil, mineral, and forest resources at an increasing rate. With a fast growing population the drive to meet goals set out in national development strategies and in international conventions, most recently defined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), has likewise accelerated. Today, the extent of resource depletion indicates that mounting pressure is being exerted upon the environment, particularly in the key economic sectors of tourism, agriculture and industry, leading to widespread deterioration and depletion at a fast rate.
He went on to say: To avoid conflicts of interest, to harmonise sectoral strategies, to rationalise legislation that concern the use and management of land, water and natural resources and to attain an integrated approach to development through a national cross-cutting consensus, it was recognised by the government that a National Policy on Environment (NPE) should be promulgated. It was expected that the policy would be developed through a comprehensive research and consultative process and would be fully integrated in principles of decentralisation, community participation and privatisation that underpin sustainable development.
With growing appreciation of the top priority need to eradicate poverty it was also recognised that sustainable development must embrace natural resource conservation as an equal partner. It is also widely realised that successful campaigns to achieve lasting and effective economic and social development require a strong sense of ownership rooted in a firm community base built around effective local institutions.
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